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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Kruzel

Birthplace: Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: John

Date of Birth: 17 February 1918

Date of Death: 09 July 2002

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Joseph John Kruzel

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Joseph John Kruzel
Major General, U.S. Air Force

Joseph J. Kruzel was born on 17 February 1918 in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Kruzel graduated from the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, with two degrees.

In May 1940, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps. Second Lieutenant Kruzel's first assignment as a pilot was at Clark Field in the Philippine Islands. He was stationed at Nichols Field, Manila, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands. During the early years of World War II, as a combat fighter pilot in northern Australia, Java and the Philippines, he flew P-40 fighters, downed one Japanese Zero fighter and logged 175 combat hours.

In 1943 he became Squadron Commander and later Deputy Commander of the 361st Fighter Group at Richmond, VA, and went to England in November 1943 with the Group, where he flew P-47 and P-51 aircraft. During his tour of duty in the European Theater of Operations, he logged 325 combat hours, destroyed three German ME-109s and one FW-190 to become an American Ace with four German and one Japanese fighter aircraft to his credit. He moved up the chain of command with various duties and holding various ranks. Some of these commands included an F-100 Fighter Wing and an F-100 Air Division.

Key staff posts were in Operations at Headquarters PACAF and at Headquarters, USAF, Pentagon. He retired with the rank of Major General, USAF.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal (3 Awards)
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (2 Awards)
Air Medal (4 Awards)
Bronze Star Medal
Presidential Unit Citation


His son was the U.S. Diplomat, Joseph John Kruzel, who died on a peace mission in Bosnia in 1995.

Death and Burial

Major General Joseph J. Kruzel died on 9 July 2002. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2724   Created by: MHOH




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